Lets start this with a little background. Monster High is a Mattel property focused towards, what I am guessing, young girls. More on it can be found at the official site. Seeing that I do not have any kids this made reviewing Monster High: Skultimate Roller Maze for the Wii and DS a tough order. It is obviously not pointed towards me, but I enjoy a challenge. So I popped the game in and started my first journey into this world of teen monsters.
On Your Mark
Monster High: Skultimate Roller Maze if you have not guessed it yet, is a racing game that uses roller skates instead of the traditional carts / motorcycles. This is most likely because it is easier to create a toy tie-in with skates, but for this game it works. You have a total of 12 skaters to chose from, but only start with 3 or 4. The rest are unlocked by placing in 1st place in the different game modes / difficulties. Each skater is listed as light, medium or strong along with a special ability (more on these shortly). Something they did that gives the game a bit of strategy is you choose 3 different skaters to be on your team. This ties into the different racing modes. The first mode is Race; in which you cycle through your skaters as they get tired in a circuit of 4 courses. The second mode is Relay; where you race the same 4 courses, but this time you don't have to worry about your racers getting tired and they automatically change as you finish each lap. The third mode is Quick Race; which allows you to choose from any of the tracks and just race it as quickly as you can. And lastly, the final mode is Timed Mode; which pits you against the clock as you skate around a course.
Alright, you have your team of three monsters, you are at the starting line. What is your strategy? How are you going to beat those other racers? Sure you can skate fast, take the inside lane for sharper turns, and barely use the breaks. But this is a fantasy based game, so where is the fun in that! Scattered through the courses are two different items to assist you. The first are coffins that give you items to place as traps, to speed you up, to fire at other skaters, power you up, or just mess with everyone else. The second are coins. The coins fill up a shared power bar that can then use used to activate a character's special power. These powers typically fall into three categories; long ranged attack, short ranged attack, and speed boost. A good team will have a mix of these so you can use the one that is best for you at the time. The coins keep people from abusing the special powers and once grabbed they are gone for the rest of the race. Unlike the coffins the coins do not respawn, so use them wisely. Lastly each course has its own hazards. The first course has a large tentacle that will slam the ground forcing you around it, and this happens directly after a boost pad. This means you can try to hit the boost for faster speed, but will risk hitting the tentacle and ending up farther behind. Another map has a waterfall that, when running, will prevent access through a shorter route. Can you get to it before it starts up or after it ends? You have a whole risk versus reward thing going on here. Be wise on your choices if you expect to place first.
And you are off! It is tight at first but you pull ahead quickly. Swapping out characters (when appropriate) keeps you moving fast and ahead of the pack. Of course this is on the easy setting. As you choose other difficulty settings the other racers do get better and start making things difficult for your team. Good thing you don't have to place first every time in your circuit of 4 tracks. Placing 1st gives you 4 points, 2nd gives 3 points, 3rd is 2 points, and 4th (last) is 1 point. This allows you to mess up a race but still get first overall if you can pull things out. Then once you are done you can try again to unlock more racers. But this is the downside of the game, you race the same four courses over and over. There does not seem to be any diversity here, so this game is not one to play for long periods of time. Now this can be a good thing as it makes it a good-before-bedtime game or a "I just finished my homework and now have 30 minutes" game. You can accomplish something meaningful in a short amount of time. On the other hand I can see someone getting tired of the courses quickly. if you are not a fan of the Monster High series you probably won't find much meaning in this game as I feel it is bascially a Mario Kart clone. But if your child has the toys and enjoys them, pick it up. At $29.99 for either the Wii or DS copy of the game it can be worthwhile investment. You can also use the codes that come with the toys in the game under the unlock section, so bonus!
3 / 5 Joysticks